YourClassical Children

Virtual Class Notes Concerts: Kroehm Duo

Kroehm Duo: Jenny Klukken, marimba; Steve Roehm, vibraphoneVenn Productions

January 07, 2021

Welcome to Virtual Class Notes Concerts!

Each year, Classical MPR reaches tens of thousands of students across Minnesota through the Class Notes Concerts program. Designed to engage and inspire elementary students through live musical performance, these concerts help cultivate active listening skills and allow students to experience the joy of classical music.

Due to current circumstances, we have adapted the concert content to provide a virtual Class Notes Concert. Today's YourClassical Music Lesson will be a virtual Class Notes concert featuring the Kroehm Duo.

Target age range: Grades K-8

1. Meet Jenny and Steve, who are the two members of the Kroehm Duo. In their introduction, they will explain the name of their group and tell you what instruments they play.

2. In the end of the first video, Steve explained that their first piece was inspired by watching his daughters play in puddles. Can you brainstorm a list of words that describe the feeling of playing in the rain, or splashing in puddles? Draw a picture, write a poem, or tell someone about this feeling. Then, as you listen to this next piece, see if it goes well with your experience.

3. Jenny is a percussionist who specializes in playing the marimba. Listen to her explain a bit about her instrument.

Jenny mentioned that a percussion instrument is anything you "tap, scrape, or shake" to make a sound. Play a quick game of "Percussion instrument or not a percussion instrument?" by looking at the instruments below and labeling them "percussion" or "not percussion."

Wikimedia Commons

4. Steve is also a percussionist who specializes in another mallet instrument, the vibraphone.

• Name two similarities between the vibraphone and the marimba.
• Name two differences between the vibraphone and the marimba.
• Can you explain the vibraphone's special feature?

5. Listen and watch the Kroehm Duo play another original piece, called Hey Fellas.

6. In that last piece, Hey Fellas, the Kroehm Duo did some improvising. They specialize in the skill of improvisation. Listen to Jenny and Steve explain how they improvise together.

Remember that Steve said one way to improvise is by using a "collection of notes" in any order you want. With that in mind, try improvising a melody! Here are some easy ways to try it at home or in the classroom.

• If you have access to a piano or a keyboard, use only the black keys as your collection of notes. Try playing different combinations of black keys. If it's hard to know where to start, try to have an image in your mind. For example, try making "elephant music" (it might be loud and slow) or "bird music" (high and fast).
• Sing an easy and familiar song, something like "Happy Birthday." Start to change the melody a bit by repeating words, either staying on the same note or changing the note.
• Make your own water xylophone with glasses and water. Use this collection of notes to improvise a melody.

7. Now that you know a little about improvisation, notice how Steve and Jenny take turns improvising in this next piece, There's No Tellin'.

8. Finally, Jenny and Steve will review a few key ideas from their Class Notes Concert.

Want to learn more about mallet instruments? Try YourClassical Music Lessons: Mallet Magic: Part 1 and YourClassical Music Lesson: Mallet Magic: Part 2.

Tell us what you learned!

Getting feedback from our audience helps make this program possible. Students, teachers, and parents, please take a minute to complete this short survey about this Virtual Class Notes Concerts.

Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.

More: View all of our YourClassical Music Lessons